A long, long time ago, back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, I was sitting in my therapist's office and he was, once again, trying to explain to me the necessity of taking care of myself instead of fighting harder for my prodigal's sobriety than he was. After chasing my prodigal, unlike the Father in Luke 15: 11-32, I had spent a decade of trying every possible way to save our prodigal from himself. I was frenzied with anxiety, struggling to function in my own life, and ignoring every good and perfect thing that God was sending my way. Like unopened Amazon deliveries, I was not home to enjoy the blessings of our other children, our life, and our blessings.
All of my efforts simply wore me out, weakened my faith, and led me to the therapist's office, asking how I could change my prodigal's life.
It was there, Dave asked me to consider letting go, letting God, fully surrendering my prodigal to God, and trust God to save him and turn his feet back home. After several unsuccessful sessions, Dave finally used an analogy, that although I am not a football fan, I know enough about football to recognize truth. Dave said, "Diane, it's like a quarterback in a football game. The quarterback is an essential player, significant enough to want to go out to each game healthy and prepared. You are like an injured quarterback that keeps going out to the game, day after day. Now tell me, Diane, have you ever seen a Coach send an injured quarterback out to the field to finish the game? No, when a quarterback is injured, he is taken off the field until such a time he is 100% again. In fact, the quarterback and every player is responsible for the care of their bodies. In your case, you have not taken care of your body, mind, or soul for such a long time in an impossible effort to change someone else. It is admirable, but not effective; in fact it is harming you, and everyone you love, with out a whisper of hope that it will work."
Stunned, I wanted to leave the room. Didn't he know how hard I was working, how much I needed our prodigal to come home for his banquet?
But his analogy made perfect sense. He had my mind. It was my heart and my shattered soul that would need some spa-ing!
As I began stepping back in to my life, I revisited the characteristics of God. I studied each of His names, I needed to reconnect with the One who could save my prodigal. I began to trust Him and began to put the pieces of my shattered faith and soul back together.
"...but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31
As every mother knows, it is a mother's heart that is the last to come to the table of surrender. Willful surrender did not come easy for me, but the more I spent time on my faith muscle, the more courage I gained to trust God, to give my cherished child to God once again. He had been dedicated as a baby, he grew up in a family of faith, and I knew he was God's gift, on loan to his parents, for just a short time. I learned that
Research suggests it takes 66 days to create a new habit. While my default response to our son's prodigal journey and reckless, wayward living remained the same (panic, jump in, try to fix, and then pray) for a little longer, the longer I intentionally practiced spa-ing for my soul, the more determined I was to be effective and do what would work. I stopped trying to move the mountain of despair and began being still.
Will you meet me at the Spa for The Soul today....stop crashing into that mountain, Be Still and know...that God has you and your prodigal in the palm of His hands.